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(Updated 5:30 a.m., Nov. 13)
New Avalon park to be named after former Cumberland reeve

Special to the Orléans Star

Cumberland Councillor Stephen Blais was joined by members off the Rocque family to break ground on Henri Rocque Park located in the Avalon Encore subdivision.

"Since being elected in 2010 I’ve made park construction a key priority," says Blais. "Henri Rocque Park will provide residents of Avalon Encore an amazing opportunity to have fun, stay fit and come together as a community."

Henri Rocque Park will be the first for the Avalon Encore community and will be built years ahead of schedule as a result of the new park construction process championed by Councillor Blais

"Parks in Cumberland are no longer taking five, six, or seven years to build," says Blais.  "By partnering with the homebuilder we ensure the parks are built much sooner to ensure the community can benefit from the tremendous value they provide."

Located at the corner of Hepatica Crescent and Magnolia Street, Henri Rocque Park represents an investment of $735,000 in the community.  It will feature junior and senior play structures, a swing set, a splash pad, adult outdoor fitness area, grassy open space, and a basketball key.

The play structures and splash pad have botanical themes, with bright colours and foliage design, and a stylized flower pattern on the splash pad concrete, designed after the Hepatica wildflower in honour of the street name.

The park grading has been created to generate interest for users. While the open space areas are relatively flat and welcoming to users of various degrees of fitness, there are berms and slopes throughout. The steepest slopes are planted with a variety of shrubs and small trees, for the ecological benefit of naturalized areas and for maintenance reasons, and there will be a grassy knoll for playing or winter sliding.

The park also features seating along the pathways, waste receptacles, a shade structure, game tables and bicycle parking.  Near the bench at the top of the slope, there is a space for a commemorative plaque.

An application to commemorate Mr. Rocque was prepared by Louis V. Patry, vice-president of the Société franco-ontarienne du patrimoine et de l'histoire d'Orléans (SFOPHO) and supported by Councillor Blais.

Henri Rocque taught in Orléans-area schools from 1953 to 1963 and was principal at École Préseault from 1964 to 1969. He also served as secretary and president of the Orléans Chamber of Commerce from 1957 to 1959, as president of the Orléans Police Village from 1961 to1969, as vice-chair of the Gloucester Planning Committee from 1967 to 1972, and as a member of the Gloucester Bilingualism Committee in 1971.

In 1972, Mr. Rocque was elected to the Council of the Township of Cumberland, first as Reeve and later as Mayor.

"We’ve taken great strides to recognize the contribution of the residents who worked so hard to build the community we love and call home," says Blais. "I believe that our shared bilingual culture and history only enrich our community. Mr. Rocque made a strong contribution and I am very proud to be able to honour his contributions to Orléans and Cumberland."

"Henri Rocque was historically important not only for Orléans, Cumberland and the City of Ottawa but also for Ontario," says Patry. "In the case of Orleans, he was a teacher, principal and president of the Police Village of Orléans and was named Citizen of the Year. In Cumberland, he was Reeve and Mayor. In Ontario, he was a superintendent, educator, president of the AEFO, UCFO, etc. and a scholarship in his name is awarded annually since 2000."

The park is expected to open in the summer of 2017.  

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

 

   

 


Posted Jan. 12



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